Steel Mesh Wallet
Exploring the realm of Steel mesh wallets: A fad or an idea that died too quickly?
It’s no surprise that I’ve been in the wallet space for quite a number of years now. From as far back as 2015 I’ve seen wallets come and go – sometimes for the best, but not always. One such example of a trend or fad that disappeared into obscurity was the humble Steel Mesh Wallet. As the name suggests a steal mesh wallet is one made from metal but not in the conventional sense of what we see on the market today. The likes of Ridge or Axwell use hard metals such as Aluminum or Titanium, but a steel mesh wallet, although uses the same material does it in a way that keeps the material supple, and malleable and allows this previously hardy material to take on a whole new lease of life. In this article, we’re going to explore the history of steel mesh wallets, look into where they originated, and look at the legacy of why they failed to hit the mainstream market. We’ll also look into whether or not any brands sell steel mesh wallets today.
A Review of a steel mesh wallet by The Daily Fidget (7 years ago)
Steel Mesh Wallet: The History
The first documented Steel Mesh Wallet was first documented in an article by Wired in 2007 which showcased a wallet made entirely from a combination of duct tape and woven steel. It’s these microfibers that give the stainless steel a material-like texture and reports at the time suggest this wallet had the texture of Silk. Another benefit of stainless steel is its ability to naturally block RFID frequencies but this is open to debate and might not have worked 100% of the time. I found it difficult to identify the brand or person(s) who created this wallet but an image of the photo (seen above) shows it labeled as ‘Stewart Stand’.
And to my absolute surprise, this lead brought me to the Stewart Stand official website where the Stainless Steel Wallets are, in part, still being sold. Although I was greeted with the reassuring message of ‘due to sourcing issues we are not currently shipping products’, it’s clear to me that the Steward Stand brand at least succeed over the 15+ year period since the brand was featured on Wired. A quick look at their Facebook page showed they were still posting as recently as 2020. It could be a case of a certain Pandemic destroying another small brand and causing issues with supply chains. Below are just a few images of the more recent Steel Mesh Wallet made by the brand Steward Stand. I would love to get my hands on one of these wallets one day.
Steel Mesh Wallet: The Current State of the Market
Aside from the aforementioned range of wallets by Steward Stand, I really couldn’t find many other examples of steel mesh wallets. Many were produced by small independent brands and such examples can still be found on the likes of Etsy to this day. One such example is the Whiting & Davis Mesh Wallet, and from the listing, it seems to be from around the 1950s. This takes a mesh wallet to the next level with its almost resembling a piece of chainmail armor. Amazing stuff, and it’s crazy to think this was developed as far back as the 1950s. Perhaps this really was the first metal wallet?
Aside from that, there’s very little else online activity when it comes to Steel Mesh Wallets. I’ve looked far and high for more examples and have yet to stumble across any. Do you know of any recent examples of one? Drop us a message we’d love to hear from you.
Stainless Steel Wallet: Why did they fail?
So why did the Steel mesh Wallet fail? The first thing to note as any one of these wallets could hold the title of the first metal wallet. Metal wallets themselves are one of the most popular wallets in the world at the moment with the likes of the Ridge Wallet leading the way. But the Ridge wasn’t successfully launched in 2014 which was 7 years after the Steel Mesh Wallet was conceived. The real reason I feel the Steel Mesh Wallet failed was simply down to lack of utility. While metal wallets today are slim and minimalist in size, the Stel Mesh Wallet didn’t offer any unique features or differences aside from the novelty of being made from metal. A steel mesh bi-fold and a leather bi-fold are basically the same, aside from the increased cost of the mesh wallets.
Overall, I see why the Steel Mesh Wallet existed n the first place – they are very cool. But overall, the benefits didn’t outweigh the additional costs. And with the development of the modern-day metal wallet, there just wasn’t room for two big players in the market. I’d love to get my hands on one day but alas I’ll have to wait that little bit longer.
Reviewer of Wallets
Hi, I’m James and I’m the owner, author, and self-proclaimed ‘wallet expert’ here at All The Wallets. I’ve been reviewing wallets for over 10 years and have amassed a collection of over 500 wallets. I’m here to provide you with impartial reviews, information, and news on men’s wallets from across the world. All The Wallets is here to provide you with a trusted source, and directory of some of the biggest and smallest wallet brands and help you make the best decision possible when choosing your next wallet. Learn more about me here.
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